Mayor's Apprenticeship Commitment passes 150 mark

Mayor Mudchute 2

Mayor Biggs meet animal care apprentice Louie and one of the sheep he cares for in his role.


Mayor John Biggs marked National Apprenticeship Week last week with a visit to Europe’s largest city farm.

Mudchute Farm and Park on the Isle of Dogs is not only home to a number of rare animal breeds, it is also a recipient of council funding for three new apprenticeships.

The money comes from Section 106 contributions, the term used for money obtained from developers to guarantee that large scale construction projects also benefit the local community.

In 2015, the council agreed a 17 year deal with the East End Community Foundation worth £993,284.

The EECF has decided to use the money to fund projects across the borough including an apprenticeship programme at Mudchute.

So far the welcome financial boost has seen the farm create an additional three new apprenticeships.

An apprentice from year one has been employed for a second year and two new apprentices have been recruited. The three staff, aged between 19 and 21, are currently working within finance, childcare and animal care.

All three are completing NVQ training alongside their day to day roles as they progress towards formal qualifications.

During his visit on Tuesday, Mayor John Biggs met with two of the new apprentices.

Tanjima Khanam, from Poplar, is based in the main office at Mudchute where she deals with the organisation’s accounts.

The 21-year-old was already a volunteer at the farm when the apprenticeship opportunity came up. She jumped at the chance to apply.

“It’s been quite a journey to get here but I’m really pleased with where I am now,” she said. “I want to stay here for as long as possible.”

While Tanjima’s job involves sitting at a desk for much of the day, 19-year-old Louie Legon has a very different experience.

The animal care apprentice can be found outside in all elements.

“Ever since a young age I’ve always wanted to work with animals,” said Louie.

“Originally I wanted to be a zookeeper but then I discovered the city farm.

“It’s very practical – I get assessed on my skills every couple of months and I’m learning something new every day. I really feel like part of the team.”

The three apprenticeship places created as a result of the council’s decision to fund the EECF are reflective of an ongoing commitment to expanding apprenticeship opportunities across Tower Hamlets.

In December, the Mayor launched his Apprenticeship Commitment and pledged to broker 1,000 new opportunities across the borough by 2020.

The plan has been well received by local businesses, with more than 150 new opportunities created already.

Mayor John Biggs said: “I’ve committed through my Mayoral Apprenticeship programme to broker 1,000 new apprenticeships. We have record employment in the borough and I want our young people to be able to share in these benefits through access to decent jobs.

“I am proud that fantastic community organisations like the East End Community Foundation are delivering apprenticeships from the proceeds of growth. During my visit to Mudchute I saw first-hand what a transformative and positive impact the new apprenticeship places are having on these hard-working young people.”

Cllr Joshua Peck, Cabinet Member for Work and Economic Growth, added: “By putting developers’ money to good use in the community, we have been able to ensure these three young people have a positive future ahead of them at Mudchute.

“The Mayor’s Apprenticeship Commitment has already led to more than 150 new opportunities being created while our WorkPath programme has helped 2,600 people into training and employment since its launch a year ago.

“Later this month we will launch Young WorkPath, a first-of-its-kind service dedicated to helping 16 to 24 year olds get onto the career ladder.

“Our commitment to making sure Tower Hamlets residents are supported at every stage of their employment journey is unwavering.”

Posted on Monday 12th March 2018